Category: Consumer advocacy

State Senator Ray Scott of Mesa County caught double-dipping

A Daily Sentinel article from May 24 details how Republican State Senator Ray Scott double-billed his legislative expense account and his campaign account for over $1,000 in Uber rides, and didn’t correct it until the Sentinel exposed it and questioned him about it. The Sentinel obtained information on Scott’s expenditures through a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to the state.

Sen. Ray Scott supports big-government interference in the construction industry

Water intrusion issues around windows may not become apparent until years after construction is complete.

Water intrusion problems around windows may not become apparent until years after construction is complete.

An election is coming up this month, and supporters of incumbent Senator Ray Scott (R, Dist-7 – Mesa County) need to know who they’re voting for.

Scott supports big nanny-state government interference in the construction industry, according to a bill he introduced in 2015 — a bill that advantaged shoddy homebuilders and was terrible for home buyers.

Anti-Ray Scott billboard campaign starts May 11

 

Mesa County residents who are fed up with State Senator Ray Scott are running a campaign urging people not to re-elect him in 2018.

Constituents say they’re fed up with Scott’s narrow-minded fossil fuel boosterism, ignorance of climate science, sub-par spelling and grammar and inability to tell credible research from industry-backed studies designed to reach a specific conclusion. Scott’s constituents are also offended by his rudeness. Scott calls voters who disagree with him “idiots.”  In February, 2017, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel threatened Scott with a defamation lawsuit after he called an opinion piece critical of him “fake news.” When a Mesa County resident commented on Scott’s Facebook page that the Sentinel was actually a conservative newspaper, Scott responded with this grammatically-challenged comeback: “Your [sic] a foolish Democrat, go cry somewhere else” and blocked the constituent from his page.

Sen. Ray Scott tanks bill to boost electric vehicle charging stations across the state

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

Mesa County’s State Senator Ray Scott was the key “no” vote that killed a bill to encourage utility companies to build more infrastructure across the state for electric vehicles (EVs). The bill, SB18-216, would have permitted electric companies to build more EV charging stations and recoup the costs of the construction by charging fees to users. The bill would have expanded the use of clean-running electric vehicles in Colorado by making it easier for people to charge them when traveling across the state.

Tanking the bill was a goal of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an astroturf front group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, owners of Koch Industries, a private conglomerate with holdings in oil and gas. 

Canal roads voted “Best Health Club” in Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest

Area residents voted trespassing on the Grand Valley’s irrigation canal roads as the “Best Health Club” in the Daily Sentinel’s “Best of the West” contest in a “favorite write-in votes” section. Almost 4,000 people voted in the “Best of the West” contest.

Trump’s war on worker safety

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, but the Trump administration is not on the side of workers.

Falling from scaffolding, getting hurt by chemical hazards, getting cut by, caught in or crushed by equipment… many Mesa County workers face hazards like this every day on the job.

A significant number of people in Mesa County work in some the country’s most dangerous occupations. Nationwide 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. On average, that’s more than 99 people a week, or over 14 worker deaths every day. The construction industry has by far the highest fatality rate of any industry in the U.S., accounting for fully 21% of workplace fatalities.  823 oil and gas industry workers were killed on the job in the U.S. from 2003 to 2010 — a fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries. There were over a dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in the eight months following the fatal blast in Firestone, Colorado, in April, 2017 that killed two people in their home. In one 12 year span, one oil and gas worker was killed every three months in Colorado, all while workers face a system more focused on protecting drilling companies than the people who work for them.

Rep. Scott Tipton votes to let Trump’s family and senior officials benefit financially from changes to federal banking rules

Chart from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 3/19/2-18

Western slope Congressional Representative Scott Tipton on March 14 voted against a motion to prohibit President Trump and his family from benefitting personally from a bill currently under consideration by the federal legislature to change federal banking rules.

Grand Junction City Council has an opportunity to end divisive religious invocations at public meetings. Let’s hope they do.

The Devil is among the many diverse religious players who are likely to get more chances to say invocations at City Council meetings, unless the invocation is eliminated entirely or the invocation policy is changed changed to a moment of silence instead of prayers.

Grand Junction City Council plans to re-assess the issue of hosting religious invocations at public meetings at their Monday, March 5 workshop.

Grand Junction made history in 2017 as the first city in Colorado host a Satanic invocation at a City Council meeting. News of the event spread across the country, and the story even made it onto Russia Today’s news website, RT.
How could something like this happen?
Under pressure from the City’s secular community to abide by the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, in 2008 the City of Grand Junction adopted an invocation policy that opened up the invocation to anyone, instead of reserving the opportunity to say it only to representatives of a few selected religious groups. Over the last ten years, the new policy has resulted in the City making history  with invocations given by atheists, Satanists and anarchists.
But the most prominent non-Christian invocation — a Satanic invocation last August, and all the hoopla that surrounded it — TV news cameras, prayer circles at City Hall and Bible-toting people in the audience — seems to have made Council interested in revising their invocation policy.

The dangers of June Fellhauer’s 2018 talk by Caroline Leaf, promoted by District 51

WakeUp Ministries’ promotion of Caroline Leaf’s talk

Local self-styled Christian missionary June Fellhauer is back in 2018 and this time, her unregistered nonprofit Wake Up Ministries sponsored a talk at Two Rivers Convention Center on January 12 by  Dr. Caroline Leaf, another Christian missionary.

Caroline Leaf labels herself a “cognitive neuroscientist.” Her teachings are aimed at helping people “see the link between science and God as a tangible way of controlling their thoughts and emotions.”  Dr. Leaf’s talked are based on her own idea that “the mind controls the brain.” She teaches that thoughts are the sole controller of our physical and mental health, that “toxic thinking is the root cause disease” and that thoughts can change our DNA.

The problem is, most of Leaf’s teachings are debunked by science.

Rental scam afoot in Grand Junction

Renters, beware!
There is a scammer on Craigslist who is stealing photos from rental postings on Zillow, then posting the same property for rent on Craigslist for a too-good-to-be-true low price, like a nice 2 bed, 2 bath house for $500/month. The scammer gets the name of the owner off of the Mesa County Assessor Lookup, and then claims via email to be that person. That way, if the prospective renter gets suspicious and checks to see who really owns the house, they see the name of person they’re dealing with matches that of the actual owner.
The scammer says he’s out of town and carries out the whole scam via text and email. He had an @aol.com email address. When you respond to the ad, the scammer sends a fake application that lets him to get even more personal information from you. He gives a song and dance about how the house is very special to his family and they’re looking for someone to take care of it, then tells you to send money for first and last month’s rent, deposit and other fees via Western Union to an out-of-town Western Union office — in this case, the mark sent $2,000 to a Western Union in Las Vegas, and the scammer used a fake Las Vegas email address.) He emails a fake contract for the mark to sign, grabs the money and leaves the mark without their money and with no place to live. The prospective tenant and property owner never meet. This all takes place over email and text.

Trump accidentally admits Republicans deceptively sold the tax bill to the country

From the Washington Post, December 20, 2017:


To President Donald Trump: “We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.” — Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Trump just admitted the GOP’s tax cuts were deceptively sold

 December 20

President Trump was so excited about passing his first major piece of legislation Wednesday that he blurted out that the Republican Party had misrepresented the entire bill, handing Democrats some potentially troublesome talking points for the 2018 midterm elections.

Speaking at the White House just before the House prepared to sign off on the tax-cuts bill one last time, Trump reveled extensively in his win before turning things over to Vice President Pence to heap praise upon him continuously for a few minutes. It was a thoroughly unique spectacle, even as victory dances and Trump Cabinet meetings go.

But along the way, Trump basically admitted that the GOP’s talking points on the bill weren’t exactly honest in two major ways.

While talking about the corporate tax rate being cut from 35 percent to 21 percent, Trump said, “That’s probably the biggest factor in our plan.”

Local business owners want “a Chamber for the rest of us”

Shawn Carr, owner of G.J. Computer Center

Two small business owners in Grand Junction are fed up and ready to start a new organization that will do what they thought the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce was supposed to do: boost small local businesses and improve life in town for those struggling at the lower end of the income scale.

Shawn Carr, a technology specialist who owns GJ Computer Center, and Billy Jacobs, owner of XZRT Gaming on Orchard Mesa, say the Grand Junction Area Chamber falls far short of providing local small businesses what they really need.

To illustrate this, Shawn tells how he recently attended a Chamber event  billed as a way for businesses to promote themselves to other businesses. He brought a pocket full of business cards to the event, but when he got there found every booth but one represented a national or international conglomerate based outside of town. He ended up handing out only one business card, and walked away thinking it’s time someone did better than this.

XCel will raise your gas rates every year for the next three years unless you say something NOW!

This is really short notice, but if money is tight in your household you need to know that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is holding a meeting tonight at the Mesa County Public Library to solicit public comments on a proposal by Xcel Energy (pdf) to raise natural gas rates by $139 million over the next three years.

The public comment hearing is today, November 2, at the Mesa County Central Library, 443 N. 6th St., in Grand Junction starting at 4 p.m. and continuing until 7 p.m. You can drop in any time during those hours, or submit comments by snailmail or email. 

Tipton and Gardner vote to end consumers’ right to sue when big banks steal from them

CO Senator Cory Gardner voted for a measure that will let big banks fleece consumers and get away with it

Why is the stock market zooming up so high?

Because the Trump administration is gutting consumer protections, most notably against the big banks, so the banks can more freely commit fraud and fleece customers like you and me without being held accountable.

Republicans just voted to end consumer protection rules that ban banks from forcing people into arbitration after banks defraud them. The rule strips Americans of their right to go to court to get justice against fraudulent activity, theft and other wrongdoing by big banks.

CBS/Washington Post: U.S. Congress complicit in advancing the U.S. opioid epidemic

Colorado House Rep. Scott Tipton. The bill that hobbled DEA’s pursuit of out-of-control opioid pharmaceutical distribution passed the House on a voice vote, so no record of individual votes was made.

A blockbuster CBS News/60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation reveals that after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracked down on big pharmaceutical distributors who were knowingly pumping millions of addictive opioid drugs into the black market in cities and towns across the country, the U.S. Congress passed a law to block DEA from freezing such highly suspicious drug shipments to keep them from getting to the streets.

Republican Colorado State Senator Ray Scott can’t even fix a typo

Ray Scott

Denver Post: State Senator Ray Scott (R- Mesa County) cast a “spiteful, obstructionist vote” against fixing an error in a bill passed in Spring, 2017 that is costing western slope transportation districts crucial funds needed to operate

Governor Hickenlooper called a special session in early October so legislators could fix a mistake in Senate Bill 17-267, passed last spring, that is costing public entities across the state millions of dollars in lost pot tax revenues.

Legislators passed the bill with an error in it that keeps voter-approved special districts across the state from collecting marijuana sales taxes to fund their services. Many of the affected districts, like the Denver Regional Transportation District, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens and Museum of Nature and Science are on the front range, but western slope entities are losing critical funding as well. Western slope districts losing funds because of the error include the Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority, the Summit Combined Housing Authority, the Roaring Fork Regional Transportation Authority, the San Miguel Regional Transportation Authority and the Edwards Metropolitan District.

At a special session convened to address the problem during the first week of October, a bill to fix the error that originated in the Democratic-controlled House passed by a 37-25 vote, mostly along party lines. Our very own Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Mesa County), was the only Republican House Representative who voted for the fix. In arguing to pass it, Thurlow said, “We’re here. We spent the money [for the special session]…I think we should just go ahead and fix it.”

The Chamber’s North Ave. Name Change is One of a Long String of Losing Proposals

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is driving the effort to rename North Avenue to “University Boulevard.”

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

This proposal is just another one in the chamber’s long track record of pushing ill-fitting projects onto Grand Junction citizens, whether they like them or not. The chamber’s proposals typically range from unpopular to disastrous and almost invariably go down in flames. The promises they make about their proposals’ costs and outcomes often contain misinformation, too. So who can blame people for not supporting yet another one?